The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google may offer user accounts specifically designed for children, the logic being that kids are already signing up and lying about their age.
As the newspaper notes, once Google officially knows a user is under 13, there are legal implications:
Google and most other Internet companies tread carefully because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. The law imposes strict limits on how information about children under 13 is collected; it requires parents’ consent and tightly controls how that data can be used for advertising. (Companies are not liable if customers lie to them about user ages).
It appears Google plans to push the new accounts as a way for parents to exercise greater supervision over their children’s online activities. Privacy groups have already made clear they won’t be buying that explanation.